Dr M: No need to debate me if PM doesn’t want to


(Malay Mail Online) – There is no need to reschedule plans for a debate with Datuk Seri Najib Razak, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said after pointing out that it was clear the prime minister was not agreeable to such a plan.

Referring to Najib’s comment last week that no good could come of such a debate, Dr Mahathir said it was not necessary to pursue the event if the prime minister was not amenable.

“Tidak setuju adakan debate, sudahlah. Dia tidak boleh bahas, tak boleh lah (diadakan),” he was quoted by Malay daily Sinar Harian as saying in Kedah yesterday.

[Translation: If he doesn’t agree to hold a debate, let it be. If he can’t debate, then cannot.]

When asked if the recently cancelled “Nothing2Hide” forum should be rescheduled, the former prime minister repeated that it was unnecessary to do so.

“Tak payahlah. Dah orang kata tak mahu, tak mahulah,” he was quoted saying by the daily.

[Translation: No need. He’s already he doesn’t want it, so there’s no need]

On June 5, a forum featuring Najib and organised by non-governmental group SukaGuam titled “Nothing2Hide” was cancelled at the last minute by the police over “security concerns”, after it was reported that Dr Mahathir would turn up for the event.

Critics later condemned the police for disrupting and cancelling the event, saying that the authorities were aiming to silence public discussions on government scandals and literally save Najib from a humiliating confrontation with Dr Mahathir over the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) issue.

On his blog last Wednesday, Najib said that neither Umno nor Barisan Nasional would benefit from an open confrontation between him and Dr Mahathir.

According to the prime minister, the event at the Putra World Trade Centre here that would have pitted him against the country’s longest serving prime minister who still wields much influence within the ruling coalition’s main party.

Najib said Dr Mahathir has a right to ask questions and that he was willing to give an explanation, adding that he was open to engage with any non-governmental organisations in future.

Dr Mahathir has emerged as one of Najib’s harshest critics over the prime minister’s 1MDB brainchild in recent weeks as questions mount over the state investment fund’s struggle to repay its growing debt pile.

The 89-year-old who appeared at the forum has scoffed at claims of a security threat as the reason for the last-minute cancellation of Friday’s event and added pressure on the Najib administration to explain 1MDB’s obscure financial situation.